The penultimate round of the Verge New England Championship Cyclo-cross Series did not disappoint today in Warwick, Rhode Island with Sally Annis (Crossresults.com p/b JRA Cycles) emerging victorious from a three-rider sprint. Annis outkicked Laura Van Gilder (C3/Athletes Serving Athletes) and Canada's Natasha Elliott (Garneau Club Chaussure-Ogilvy) who finished second and third respectively.
Coming into the weekend, the battle for the elite women's title was extremely tight with Andrea Smith (Ladies First Racing) wearing the leader's jersey. A better stage could not have been set for the NBX GP of ‘Cross at Goddard Park. Under bright sunlight with temperatures in the 40s, racers tackled the course which featured a long sand run and lots of elevation change but also long power sections.
From the start of the Elite women's race it was clear that this would not be an easily won event for any of the competitors as a group of seven racers formed at the front. The group contained favorites like Laura Van Gilder (C3/Athletes Serving Athletes), Natasha Elliott (Garneau Club/Chaussures/Ogilvy), Sally Annis (Crossresults.com p/b JRA Cycles) and Andrea Smith (Ladies First Racing). Also in the lead group were Sara Bresnick-Zocchi (crossresults.com p/b JRA Cycles), Crystal Anthony (Ladies First Racing) and Nicole Thiemann (Team CF).
As the laps ticked by, the torrid pace set by the women at the front caused Thiemann to drop off the pace and eventually dropped Smith and Anthony with two to go. Bresnick-Zocchi put in some hard efforts to push Smith off the back and fell victim to the pace as well.
With one to go, the race was down to three: Laura Van Gilder, Natasha Elliott and Sally Annis. Elliott drove the pace for much of the lap while Van Gilder sat on, clearly looking to take advantage of a sprint finish.
At the final turn, though, it was Sally Annis who was able to take the sprint ahead of Van Gilder. Series leader Andrea Smith came across the line fifth behind Bresnick-Zocchi, not enough to retain the leader's jersey.
Coming off what was the best victory of her career, Annis was able to once again don the series leader’s jersey, but her lead is a scant five points going into the series finale on Sunday.
|1||Sally Annis (USA) crossresults.com p/b JRA Cycles||0:35:33|
|2||Laura Van Gilder (USA) C3 - Athletes Serving Athletes||0:00:01|
|3||Natasha Elliott (Can) Garneau Club Chaussure-Ogilvy||0:00:02|
|4||Sara Bresnick-Zocchi (USA) Crossresults.Com-Pedalpowercoaching.com||0:00:12|
|5||Andrea Smith (USA) LadiesFirst Racing||0:00:22|
|6||Crystal Anthony (USA) LadiesFirst Racing|
|7||Arley Kemmerer (USA) C3 - Athletes Serving Athletes||0:00:56|
|8||Ann D'Ambruoso (USA) LadiesFirst Racing|
|9||Carolyn Popovic (USA) PAValleys.com||0:00:59|
|10||Nikki Thiemann (USA) Team CF||0:01:09|
|11||Catherine Sterling (USA) Bikeman.com||0:01:34|
|12||Jennifer Maxwell (USA) Van Dessel Factory Team p/b Sterke Meiden||0:01:38|
|13||Christina Tamilio (USA) LadiesFirst Racing||0:01:41|
|14||Rebecca Wellons (USA) Pedro's||0:01:59|
|15||Allison Snooks (USA) LadiesFirst Racing||0:02:10|
|16||Laura Ralston (GBr) MIT||0:02:18|
|17||Cassandra Maximenko (USA) silverbull centralwheel||0:02:24|
|18||Sarah Krzysiak (USA) NYCross.com / CBRC||0:03:00|
|19||Jessica Hayes Conroy (USA) North American Velo||0:04:46|
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